"Nothing builds authority up like silence, splendor of the strong and shelter of the weak" (Charles de Gaulle). This idea is reflected in Ken Kesey’s novel One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, where it is shown how authority becomes more powerful by abusing the silence of the people. This silence is literally and figuratively represented through Chief Bromden, a longtime patient of a psychiatric ward during the 1960s in the United States. Bromden, along with all the other patients in the ward, religiously abide by the rules and regulations enforced by the ward administration, particularly Nurse Ratched, a strict and abusive manipulator who does anything in order to maintain her power. This power dynamic quickly evolves
“One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest” is a book written by Ken Kesey about a group of men living in an unforgiving mental ward, filled with many unjust guidelines and rules. In that book, it tells the story of Chief Bromden, a patient at a mental ward, and Randle McMurphy, another patient who has recently been admitted into the mental ward. When McMurphy arrives, he begins to stir up trouble with Nurse Ratched, who controls everything and everyone in the ward. McMurphy goes against most, if not all, the rules that the nurse has in place because he realizes that her rules are unfair, and that her actions and behavior are not justifiable. McMurphy doesn't believe in a world full of conformists, where everyone is the same, and where life revolves
In Ken Kesey’s novel One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Ken Kesey provides a storyline about personal experiences he saw occur in a mental asylum. Ken Kesey worked as a staff member in an insane asylum in Oregon. When he wrote the book, he was providing personal memories about the patients and other workers into a story. The entire novel is about patients that are checked into a mental asylum, and their unwillingness to act against the nurse. Throughout the novel, there is a theme of “manipulation” implied. The theme that manipulation is only a powerful tool if the victim is weak enough to not resist it is revealed through the conflict between Nurse Ratched and the patients in the mental institution.
Literature, old or modern, has always been subject to criticism and judgement due to the issues that exist within classic novels. Whether the issue contains profanity, violence, or content too mature for young readers, award-winning books’ existences receive threats to be banned and forgotten. Unfortunately for Ken Kesey’s classic, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, this may be the only course of action. While the novel displays violence unsuitable for high-school curriculums, Ken Kesey’s classic should be in every library for adult readers. Although the novel teaches valuable life lessons about individuality and is mild compared to modern media, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest should be banned in all high school curriculums because it incorporates
Nurse Ratched was very controlling and wanted complete power. This caused many of the patients to rebel and break loose from her control. McMurphy lead the ward in this uprising. From brushing his teeth too early to sneaking prostitutes into the ward, he shows Nurse Ratched that she cannot rule him. This story reminded me of Malala Yousafzai and her retaliation against the Taliban.
“You’re sentenced in a jail and you got a date ahead of when you know you’re gonna be let loose” ( Kesey, page 190). The lifeguard that is talking to McMurphy say that being in jail is better than being in at the ward because you do not know when you are going to leave. After this McMurphy talks to Harding and says “Yes; chopping away the brain. Frontal-lobe castration. I guess if she can’t cut below the belt she’ll do it above”. “ I didn’t think the nurse had the say-so on this kind of thing”. “She does indeed” ( Kesey, pg 191). So, McMurphy understands that nurse Ratched has a say in when he can leave the ward. After learning this he becomes quiet and nice towards nurse Ratched. But before learning that she had say in when he could get out he used to go against her orders and laws. “He drags his armchair out of the corner to in the front of the tv set then switches on the set and sits down” (Kesey, page 143). “I said Mr. Murphy, that you are suppose to be working during these hours” (page 144). In this scene he pulls a chair in front of the television to watch the baseball game eventho nurse Ratched said
“At sea, away from the restraints of Nurse Ratched they follow the lead of McMurphy” (Elaine B., It’s the Truth Even If It Didn’t Happen). When the men are away from Nurse Ratched they still need to follow the lead of someone; rather than doing something from their own mindset. This shows how Nurse Ratched’s manipulation has hindered the men’s inability to do something for themselves. Another example of the longterm effects of manipulation is that none of the men actually want to leave the ward. “As a matter of fact, there are only a few men on the ward who are committed. Only Scanlon and—well, I guess some of the Chronics. And you. Not many commitments in the whole hospital. No, not many at all” (Kesey, 436). This reveals that after constant manipulation the victims brain is traumatized and is left with an ability to find change. Lastly, most men in the ward find Nurse Ratched to be scary and something to be reckoned with. The fear of Nurse Ratched causes the men to see most women as scary monsters and something to be hated. For example Harding is revealed to have many problems with his wife. “Touch upon the—subject, Mr. McMurry, the subject of Mr. Harding’s problem with his wife” (Kesey, 436). This quote reveals how Nurse Ratched’s manipulation has effected the victims views on women. Mental and physical manipulation can cause
Throughout Ken Kesey’s, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, the balance of power is challenged in the psychiatric ward. Out of the several leaders that appear in the novel, Nurse Ratched and McMurphy are the most prominent. During Nurse Ratched and McMurphy struggle for power, they share many of the same qualities. It is argued that: “McMurphy and Ratched are alike in intelligence, military service, distinctive (if opposite) clothing, and conventionally masculine qualities” (Evans). These small similarities; however, do not distract the characters from fighting for their individual beliefs. Both McMurphy and Nurse Ratched approached their leadership in different ways. McMurphy uses transformational leadership, which is a leader that “must perform some combination of the transactional functions (plan, direct, organize, control) in order to build respect and trust… [and the] leader gets people to work towards some higher purpose or goal” (O’Connor). In other words, it is a leader who achieves a “higher goal”, while “build[ing] respect and trust” from the people. On the other hand, Nurse Ratched uses authoritarian leadership, which is when “Policies [are] determined by the leader. [The] leader determines what each member should do and with whom he should work… Some find it difficult to diffuse authority… [which] causes some to feel threatened and insecure” (Sferra). More simply, an authoritative leader is one that has supreme power over the people. McMurphy’s transformational
In order to demonstrate the detrimental impact of societal institutions such as the mental hospital and the federal government on their subordinates, Ken Kesey captures the patients’ endeavor to become whole again as they temporarily escape the Combine’s clutches within his novel One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. At the beginning of Part 3, it appears Nurse Ratchet’s regime is nearly toppled and that the machinery has lost its control. In fact, McMurphy even draws “[laughs] out of some Acute who’d been scared to grin since he was twelve” and forms a basketball team for the inmates (175). Moreover, Chief Bromden speaks for the first time in years and achieves an erection after his pivotal conversation. Clearly, Kesey indicates the decline of the matriarchy and as a result, portrays the patients as regaining their masculinity. Formerly,
“One flew over the Cuckoo’s nest” is a film directed by Miloš Forman, based on the novel by Ken Kesey. The Film was released in 1975. It is the story of a convicted man, trying to outsmart the American legal system by playing mentally ill. The film starts at the beginning when the main character, Randle McMurphy, enters the mental institution. It won 6 Golden Globes as well as 5 Oscars and many other nominations. What separates this film from others is its’ use of movie devices and techniques, as well as the emotionally charged story.
The conflict between the two main character's Nurse Ratched and McMurphy serves as a bridge for the overarching theme of sexuality. Or to be more specific the battle of sexuality. In the book the two main characters represent both sides of the spectrum when it comes to sexuality concerning genders. Nurse Ratched represents feminism and McMurphy represents masculinity. With the two conflicting views of how the character’s believe the institution for the mentally ill should be run you can see more of the juxtaposition between the two. Nurse Ratched who ruled with an iron handed fist to keep her distance away from the patients of the ward and establish her role of a women in power in the institution. This from the beginning of the book sets a
The film, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, prompts very important aspect of the human condition. In the movie, the protagonist, Mac McMurphy, is deemed dangerous, so the mental institute tries to suppress him (Kesey). The film highlights various aspects of human conditions like psychology, sociology and philosophy. The mental institute tries to suppress the mentally challenged people rather than to try to communicate with them. The warden employs subtle humiliation tactics to subdue the patients, which was challenged by Mac McMurphy (Kesey). The movie shows that there is a fine line between being normal and acting normal. The protagonist was forced to become a mental patient to make him less dangerous. The movie
In the intense, yet often comedic, award-winning film, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Randle P. McMurphy, a criminal who is serving his sentence at a prison farm is sent to a mental hospital for evaluation. Although McMurphy refuses to accept the idea of being mentally ill, he expresses that he would much rather serve in a mental hospital than do manual labor. As he starts to observe the routine at the hospital, he begins conflicting with the head nurse, Nurse Ratched. Throughout the movie, the tension increases and ultimately leads McMurphy to attempt to escape for good. Although things turn toward the unexpected, lessons are learned and characters
Breaking conformity and the strict rules of an oppressive power does not always lead to freedom and liberation often ending instead in further suppression as displayed through Ken Kesey’s novel ‘One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest’. Kesey uses an extensive range of literary techniques to display the negative and harmful consequences of defiance against the conventions of a dominant society. Nurse Ratched has created her idea of a functional society and punishes patients when they do not fit this mold, stripping them of their individuality. Ultimately Billy Bibbit’s hope and courage are destroyed after he commits a sinful
The novel One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey tells the story of a group of patients in a 1960s psychiatric hospital. The novel is told from the perspective of one of the patients who, up until the very end of the story, is mute. This character is named Bromden and because of the fact that he doesn’t speak, people think he is deaf. Bromden is in the psychiatric hospital because, although its is unclear whether he actually is skitzophrenic, he has been diagnosed as such. Bromden and many other psychiatric patients live in this ward, under the “command” of Nurse Ratched, nicknamed “Big Nurse”. Nurse Ratched is very bossy and strict with the patients in the ward. Many of the patients find her intimidating, until a new patient shows up